Students left out in the cold for charity
STUDENTS from Derby College ditched their beds and home comforts to spend a night sleeping rough in the city centre – for children's charity Barnardo's.
Hazel Leivars, Hasan Mian, Lauren Bondon and Shada Whittingham braved the elements to bed down in the Market Place from 7pm to 7am.
The social science mature students had to complete a group project as part of their course and chose to sleep out because it was a topic close to home for them.
Hasan, 29, of Derby, said he has been homeless in the past. He said: "I've had to sleep rough and I know the effect that it has on many people in the city.
"We wanted to do something which wasn't just a walk in the park.
"It's really cold at the minute and we knew it's going to be tough – but it was nothing compared to what people doing it every night go through."
Hazel, 29, also of Derby, said that, before going back into full-time education, she worked at a homeless hostel.
She said: "Seeing people in so much need and having to turn them away at this time of year, when it's cold and frosty, is heart-breaking.
"And, with the budget cuts going on at the moment, the hostels are being hit hard.
"We wanted to raise the profile of what the thousands of homeless people go through every day – and night – when the cold weather really sets in."
Hazel said the group hoping the money they raised would stay in the city. She said: "We've been talking to the agents for the city and they think they'll be able to keep it here.
"It'd be great to help people right on our doorstep and know that they might get a warm bed – even if it's just for one night."
The students set up camp with cardboard boxes, blankets and warm layers of clothing. Lauren, 30, of Chellaston, said she would do it again. She said: "There were so many people who came to us throughout the evening with homemade mince pies, tea, coffee and pizzas. It was amazing.
"We'd spread the word on the internet and people came down and were so supportive. It was incredible.
"It was cold but we stayed together and kept warm, so the cold didn't get to us too much. It wasn't bad for us, as we knew we could pack up at 7am and go back home to bed. Homeless people don't have that privilege.
"We aimed to raise £300 but we've smashed that with everyone's generosity and I think we'll easy get to £500."
To support the group, visit www.justgiving.com/homeless-for-the-night.